Shortly after graduating college, Jenna Lotti uploaded a cover to YouTube. Within a few weeks, she had her first gig booked: A benefit show in New York City. She posted on Facebook asking if anyone would want to play guitar for her and Mikey responded. Her and Mikey met sophomore year of college, as he used to go upstairs and play music with her roommate. For the next year, they played open mics around Boston, along with benefit shows all across Massachusetts and New York City. Mikey eventually left to start doing comedy again and Jenna picked up a band of extremely talented musicians. Jenna recorded her first album two years ago and is now working on follow-up. Her EP, Bad Habits, will be coming up next year.
I hear you’re working on your sophomore album. Tell me about your first release, Tunnel Vision?
I am currently recording my second EP that will be coming out in 2016. I released Tunnel Vision in March of 2014. That record will always be very near to my heart, but I’m ready for people to hear my new songs. I’m very excited!
Did you see a good amount of success from the release of Tunnel Vision?
Yes, I think so. Someone else’s idea of success may not be the same as mine, but I wrote all of the songs, made it happen for myself, and literally put everything I had into that project and I feel very proud of it. To me, that is success. Obviously, it was my first independent project so I didn’t sell a million copies, but the record opened up many opportunities for me and for that, I am very grateful.
Who are some of your biggest music influences? Sara Bareilles, John Mayer, Grace Potter, Adele and Kacey Musgraves.
How did your first tour go?
It was such a great experience and I learned SO much along the way. I even wrote 2 songs on the new record while touring. I can’t wait to go back on tour!
Will your second tour be covering more of the states? I’m actually not sure yet. I think we will stick around the east coast. I would love to go on a world tour someday!
What’s your favorite song you’ve written?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. Lyrically, I would say either “Strangers” or “Away” off of Tunnel Vision. I also have a few favorites that will be on the new record. The songs that are the most meaningful to me and my life are my favorites.
Your boyfriend also plays guitar in Jenna Lotti. How do you keep your relationship and professional life separate?
Yes! God, I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to live and share my dream with the love of my life. Some days I feel like it’s just too good to be true. It’s just indescribable. On the other hand though, it can be very challenging. Separating music and our personal life can be hard at times. A good example of that is sometimes he will want to practice and I just want to go out on a date with him and be a normal couple. I think we’re getting the hang of keeping a good balance, though. He’s an amazing man. There is a very special song I wrote for him on the new record.
What’s the ultimate dream for your music career? The ultimate collaboration? The ultimate venue?
My dream is to do this for the rest of my life. To tour, to travel the world, and connect with people. I just want people to listen to my music and be inspired to follow their own dreams. I would LOVE to write with Kacey Musgraves. Although we have different music styles, I’m in love with her songwriting. The ultimate venue would have to be Red Rocks.
Tell me about your best fan story so far.
I got to meet so many awesome people when I opened for Hunter Hayes this past summer. That was the most incredible experience so far, connecting with the fans. A couple weeks after that show, I received a Facebook message from a sweet young girl I met that night. She reached out to me to tell me that she had been going through a really hard time in her life and that my music was the only thing getting her through it. She said she had been playing my CD non-stop in her car. When I wrote back to her, she said I made her whole week and that she was in tears. Little did she know, she made MY whole week and had ME in tears. I have always turned to music throughout my life to get through tough situations and the power of music has always helped me heal. It is pretty surreal to hear that my music is doing that for someone else. That was one of the best moments so far.
When did you first know this is what you wanted to do? Did you have lots of experience with it before beginning your career?
Always. I always knew I wanted to be doing this. I cannot remember a time where I wanted to do anything else. In my 5th grade yearbook they asked us what we wanted to be and I wrote a singer and dancer. Growing up, I had a lot of experience being in front of crowds in dance and in softball. I always sang, but was very shy to ever sing in front of a crowd. After college I said F-it. If I want to do something, I can’t be scared. I started doing open mics with you and just put the pedal to the metal going after this dream.
What was the thing that jump started your music career?
I’m not sure. I feel like I have a lot to say and I had all these poems and songs written in college. When I graduated, it was like I needed to get them out and heard!
Have you noticed a change in your songwriting from your first album to your second?
YES. YES. Yes. My first album I kind of just wrote from my heart. I am still writing from my heart, but I have learned so much more about songwriting since releasing Tunnel Vision. For the new album, I did a lot of co-writing which was a really cool process. I’m excited for people to hear what’s coming next.
Will you be playing more guitar on your next album and tourist are you noticing you just like to focus on your vocals?
I hear you went to Nashville recently and fell in love with the musical capital of the country? Will you be moving there anytime soon?
I don’t know, I don’t think so. Who knows what life will bring..
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about the music industry so far?
Trust your gut.
What advice would you give to the next Jenna Lotti out there?
Just do it.
Help Jenna Lotti fund her new EP!